De Norsemen: Twitter ban ambush on democracy

FILE PHOTO - The Twitter logo is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., September 28, 2016. REUTERS-Brendan McDermid-File Photo

A international humanitarian organisation, De Norsemen Kclub International has kicked against the Nigerian Government’s ban on Twitter, saying it was an ambush on the nation’s fledgling democracy.

The group was appalled that a government that came in through a democratic process, and prided itself as an upholder of democratic principles, can take this brazing unpopular decision without recourse to democratic principles and constitutionality.

In statement by it International President, Dr. Adeshola Giwa, on Monday, De Norsemen stated its belief and commitment to free speech, noting that only a government that had something to hide would abridge freedom of expression.

“De Norsemen Kclub International wish to remind the Federal Government that a government that has nothing to hide is not afraid of free speech. The rule should be: let the people express themselves and take responsibility of their expressions. We want to emphasize that freedom of speech is an inalienable constitutional right of citizens. Citizens’ right to free expression is non-negotiable and it is only a court of competent jurisdiction, and not the fiat of government, that can determine when the expression of citizens runs foul of the law.

“There is no doubt that the Twitter suspension has sent the wrong signal that this government is intolerant to opposing views. This is antithetical to democratic inclusion. This unfortunate suspension has downgraded the already challenged image of the country, and will no doubt, scare away investors, and lead to the downturn of investment and employment generation.

“Let the government know that the suspension of Twitter is a mockery of itself, because Nigerians are still twitting through the use of VPN. This is to show that no amount of suppression and intimidation can cow Nigerians. It is also an indication that the government cannot win the war against free speech.

“The suspension of Twitter affirms the shrinking of the civic space. Democracy cannot thrive in a space where government determines what should be said and how it should be said. A government that panics at the voices dissent has seriously derailed in the act of governance and the citizens should do the needful through the electoral process”, the organisation stated.

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